The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is preparing to promulgate a rule to lower the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Ozone to 70 to 75 parts per million (ppm) from the current standard of 80 ppm. The proposed rule was issued on July 11, 2007. Oil industry and agriculture representatives have presented their case to EPA and the White House Office of Management and Budget last month to discuss a proposal set for release in March. The National Association of Manufacturers has issued a study that finds that the costs would be significant if the standard becomes stricter.
Some agricultural groups believe the lowering of the concentrations will put rural areas into non-attainment zones. They fear this will raise the cost of farming at a time when energy prices are already high. It is not clear if this proposed rule will be issued, postponed, or revised.